John Kerry -‐‑ United States Senator for Massachusetts : Press Room

John  Kerry U.S.  Senator  for  Massachusetts
FOR  IMMEDIATE  RELEASE:  Wednesday,  July  30,  2003 WASHINGTON,  DC  Senator  John  Kerry  today  blasted  the  Bush  Administration  for  proposing  to  cut  the  number  of  air marshals  in  the  wake  of  a  new  Department  of  Homeland  Security  warning  about  the  possibility  that  al-­Qaida  may attempt  more  suicide  bombings  using  commercial  aircraft.According  to  media  accounts,  the  Transportation  Security Administration  is  seeking  approval  from  Congress  to  cut  $104  million  from  the  air  marshal  program  to  help  offset  a  $900 million  budget  shortfall,  even  though  President  Bush  noted  the  threat  of  the  possibility  of  hijackings  during  a  White House  news  conference  earlier  today.  Kerry,  a  co-­author  of  the  Aviation  and  Transportation  Security  Act,  which  created the  Transportation  Security  Administration  and  the  air  marshal  program,  issued  the  following  statement:I  am  deeply disappointed  to  learn  that  George  W.  Bush  has  compromised  our  Nations  security  by  proposing  to  cut  the  number  of  air marshals  at  the  very  time  that  his  Administration  is  highlighting  a  new  threat  from  al-­Qaida  to  use  commercial  aircraft  in suicide  bombings.  That  is  illogical,  irresponsible,  and  an  ill-­conceived  notion  of  how  to  protect  the  American  people. Protecting  the  American  people  requires  leadership  that  goes  beyond  tax  cuts  and  photo  ops;;  it  requires  concrete  action that  recognizes  we  live  in  a  different  world  post  9-­11.  Former  Republican  Senator  Warren  Rudman  has  recently  issued  a report  pointing  to  an  almost  $100  billion  homeland  security  gap.  Thats  less  than  one-­third  of  the  recent  tax  cut  for  the wealthy.  George  W.  Bushs  latest  action  is  just  one  more  example  of  this  administrations  priorities,  priorities  that  put small-­minded  penny-­pinching  and  tax  cuts  for  his  campaign  supporters  ahead  of  making  the  tough  choices  and necessary  investments  in  securing  our  homeland.Unfortunately,  this  is  not  the  first  instance  of  President  Bushs indifference  to  the  needs  of  protecting  our  homeland.  He  initially  opposed  the  creation  of  a  Department  of  Homeland Security,  embracing  the  idea  only  when  he  could  use  it  for  political  gain.  He  has  under-­funded  the  DHS,  forcing  cash-­ strapped  states  and  localities  to  pick  up  the  tab.  And  he  has  shortchanged  first  responders,  the  very  men  and  women we  will  rely  on  to  protect  us  in  the  unfortunate  event  of  another  attack.George  W.  Bush  should  exercise  some  leadership here  and  immediately  order  his  appointees  to  restore  the  air  marshals  to  the  flights  which  need  them  most.  More importantly,  he  should  exercise  some  leadership  by  realizing  that  tax  cuts  for  the  wealthy  take  money  away  from  the protection  of  the  American  people.-­-­  30  -­-­
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Agency Overseeing Air Marshals Asks to Divert Program's Funds
Stephen Power Eastern edition, New York, NY Page A4 Jul 31, 2003

WASHINGTON -- The Transportation Security Administration asked Congress to cut money for the federal air-marshals program, prompting criticism from Democrats who point to recent warnings that al Qaeda may attempt more suicide hijackings sometime during the next few months. The TSA wants permission to divert $104 million from the program to help offset a $900 million agency budget shortfall. The TSA said it has no plans to cut the number of air marshals -- a number the agency hasn't disclosed -- and said most of the proposed reductions are intended to slow down hiring of support staff and defer some training expenses until next year. But the mere suggestion of possible cutbacks in the $545 million program drew jeers from Democrats, including one of the party's presidential hopefuls, who said it illustrates a pattern by President Bush of shortchanging homelandsecurity needs. "He should exercise some leadership by realizing that tax cuts for the wealthy take money away from

the protection of the American people," said Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry. TSA spokesman Brian Turmail said the agency's request wouldn't affect the air marshals' mission. Mr. Bush's secretary of homeland security, Tom Ridge, added "every available air marshal is being deployed and additional resources are being directed to this critical program." Still, the idea appeared to alarm some Republicans, following the government's warning to airlines this week of the possibility of hijack attempts. Government officials have said the alert was based on data gleaned from recent interviews with al Qaeda terror-network operatives held by the U.S., as well as communications intercepted by U.S. intelligence agencies. "Given new warnings from [the Department of Homeland Security] about possible hijacking attempts, it is foolish to even consider cutting back the number of air marshals on commercial flights," said Rep. Harold Rogers, chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, which oversees the TSA's budget. The Kentucky Republican said he would block any attempt to move money from the "core missions" of the program and added it is "foolish" to consider eliminating marshals. A spokeswoman for Mr. Rogers said later in the day that TSA officials never "indicated to us they were going to cut the number of air marshals on flights." Copyright Dow Jones & Company Inc

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